Is Travel Health Insurance Really Worth It?

Not everyone has wanderlust, but it’s safe to say that if you’re reading this article, then you’ve been searching travel sites lately and dreaming about your next trip. You might also be wondering if you should get travel health insurance, trip insurance, or evacuation insurance.

The answer is yes! Why? Because things go wrong. Not that we want them to. They just do. Traveling is an adventure, and all adventures carry some degree of risk, so we need to be prepared.

Murphy’s Law, Remember?

Thanks, Murphy (who was Murphy anyway??) for reminding us that things can and will go wrong when you’re on an adventure. Anything from an infected cut you got from a reef in Hawaii, to a scooter collision you had in Rome, can change your well-thought-out plans very quickly.

After anguishing mentally for days planning the perfect trip, stretching every dollar in your travel budget to cram as much adventure into your trip as possible, you’ll have lots and lots of questions. Will my US health insurance cover me abroad? Can I afford travel health insurance? How much does it really cost? Is travel health insurance worth the money? Don’t stress! Let me break it down for you…

Will My US Coverage Work Overseas?

Most health insurance plans won’t cover you once you leave your home country. At the very least, your coverage will be limited (but always double-check with your company). If you return from your trip with a staph infection or some intestinal parasite, you’ll receive treatment from your usual primary care physician. They won’t turn you away for bringing back a bacterial souvenir. The problem arises when you need medical attention immediately and you’re far away from home. While some regular insurance plans cover this, submitting claims and getting reimbursed can cause more pain than the injuries you sustained on your trip!

The COVID Upate

Many countries now require that tourists arrive on their shores with an international health insurance policy before they can be admitted or issued a visa. If you’re COVID-positive, you will probably have to quarantine for 7-10 days at your own expense. Some countries, like Costa Rica, also require that tourists arrive with insurance to cover this expense. International health insurance will protect you from these unexpected costs. Getting a plan that covers COVID before you even depart your home country will also help you avoid problems with entry and visas. 

Get Medical Care When You Need It, Where You Need It

If you want to avoid a 12-hour plane ride home with severe gastric cramping, or enduring a painful hairline fracture, it’s best to get treatment where you are. The easiest way to do that is to have some international health insurance. Play it safe and get international coverage, it’s cheaper than you think. The best case scenario is that you won’t need to use the plan and you spend a few bucks for peace of mind. The reduced anxiety of “what if” something happens is worth it alone. With travel health insurance, you are free from that mental baggage.

Can I Afford Travel Health Insurance?

My guess is, yes! There are many affordable, easy-to-access travel health insurance plans out there. If you are a value-oriented consumer and choose a smart plan, without a bunch of random add-ons (like coverage for luggage damaged by airport trolleys but not cab rides), then you can expect to pay a very small percentage of your total trip price.  Contact us to find out what options are best and get a quote.

What Are My Options for Short Trips?

There are many travel health insurance plans on the market. One of the cheaper plans, and also the simplest, is GeoBlue Voyager. For example, if you’re a 25-year-old Californian going to Costa Rica for a week (yes, you can buy travel insurance for just one week), then you can expect to pay as little as $8.50 for a week’s worth of coverage. That’s not a typo! In this example, your deductible would be $500 and your medical limit would be $50,000. However, for about $15 you can score a no-deductible plan with a million dollar medical limit. Not a bad investment for the cost of just a few lattes.

What If I’m Going on a Longer Trip?

OK, so you’re covered for short trips, but what about those extended trips? How much does travel insurance cost for a month to three months? The answer is that it costs even less.

For the example above, the same coverage for a one-month trip runs $30 and $52 respectively. If you’re gone for three months, and thereby increasing the likelihood of injuring yourself or getting sick, then expect to pay about $100 for the low-end plan and $165 for the full plan. That’s only $1.83 per day.

The rates noted above are through GeoBlue, which is one of the better short-term health insurance options for travelers. (I say short-term because anything less than a year is considered short-term.) Their plans also cover most pre-existing conditions.

This plan works with a global network of GeoBlue-approved physicians. The company makes it easy to access care by offering 24/7 customer support, and it’s all easily navigated with a mobile app that helps you find the nearest physician. Also, if you find that in the rush to leave for your trip you’ve neglected to purchase travel health insurance, you can still purchase it within one day of departure.

Are There a Lot of Claim Forms?

A lot of travelers worry about hidden costs and a mess of paperwork to keep track of with an overseas medical incident. If you have GeoBlue, the claims are paperless and the foreign doctors get paid directly from the company.

surfer at sunset

Travel Health Insurance Let’s You Relax and Enjoy Your Trip!

So is travel health insurance worth it? Yes! It’s worth it so you can just relax and focus on being in the moment, enjoying your trip to the fullest. And most likely, nothing will go wrong. But if you tumble on a loose cobblestone in Copenhagen, it’s good to know that you’re covered. As I said before, travel is an adventure, and all adventures carry some amount of risk. If you’d like to browse the different plans available, go to my website and select Quick Quote.

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